You’re ready to create your first website for your business. Before you can start building your site and adding content, there are a few technical steps you’ll need to take care of to get everything set up.
In this article, we’ll walk through the steps of setting up a WordPress website using Namecheap products.
Register a Domain
Where do you want your website to live? Registering a domain for your website is like choosing your street address.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a domain:
- keep it short
- make it memorable
- be sure it’s easy to spell
- ensure it accurately reflects your brand identity
If you already know what you want to use for your website address, you can register your domain on Namecheap.com now. If you’re not sure what to use, or if your first choice is already taken, we have some handy tips on how you can go about choosing your domain.
Set Up Hosting
Now that you have an address, you need a place for your website to live. While there are several different options for your hosting here on Namecheap, we’ll assume for this example you’re going to use Shared Hosting – a great place to start out for most websites, as it’s both economical and easy to use.
Purchase the service that best suits your needs, and keep an eye out for Namecheap emails with further information.
Connect Your Domain and Hosting
Once you have registered your domain and set up your hosting account, you’ll need to point that domain to your hosting platform. To accomplish this, you will assign your Namecheap nameservers to your domain. This is a lot like sending out a Change of Address card to let the post office know where to deliver your mail.
Updating your nameservers is a simple process that you can manage through your Namecheap Account Panel. We offer step-by step instructions on how to make this happen.
If you already have a hosting account and want to add a second domain, the process is a bit different. Please refer to our Knowledgebase article which explains how to add an additional domain to your hosting.
Accessing your cPanel
Once you have created your hosting account, you will receive an email with your personal cPanel web address (URL), username, and password. These are different from your Namecheap account username and password.
The cPanel is your dashboard for your hosting account. Here you can view your bandwidth and disk space usage, create subdomains, manage web email, use FTP to transfer files to and from your site, access databases, and install content management systems (like WordPress) or other software on your website.
We offer a detailed explanation of the cPanel in our Knowledgebase.
Install WordPress using Softaculous
Now, it’s time to install your website foundation. WordPress is a great content management tool that allows you to build out your site and update content easily. You can use Softaculous to make installing it a snap.
Here are a few steps you’ll want to follow:
- Log into your cPanel and locate the Softaculous App Installer. You will see an option within Softaculous to install WordPress.
- Assuming you want your URL to be “yourwebsite.com,” you can leave the In Directory field empty. (As we explain in our documentation on Softaculous, by default, this field is empty, and it allows installing WordPress for your main website.)
- Set your WordPress username and password here. These should be different from your cPanel login or your Namecheap account. Be sure to write these down and keep them safe. You will need these credentials to log into WordPress when you’re done with this step.
Log into WordPress and Choose a Theme
Your house is built – congratulations! But it still needs decorating. Once you’ve installed WordPress, you can exit your cPanel and log into your WordPress site.
Go to your site address (the address specified in “In Directory”) and add /wp-admin (e.g. http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin).
(Note : if you just registered your domain and/or just connected it with Namecheap hosting, you may need to wait a bit for the domain name servers propagate. If you can’t see anything yet, don’t panic!)
When you are asked for your username and password, use the details you specified when you installed WordPress. If everything has been set up correctly, when you log in you should see your WordPress Dashboard.
Once you’re logged in, you can install a theme by navigating in your Dashboard to the left-hand column and choosing Appearance > Themes.
The WordPress Codex offers more help with themes if you get stuck.
Build Your Site
This is where you get to add your furnishings. To learn WordPress and all of the options you have for your site, we recommend the WordPress Codex. The Codex contains all kinds of great information about WordPress and is maintained by volunteers of the WordPress Foundation.
In particular, you might check out the First Steps with WordPress page, which will give you a tour of all of the features.
In other Namecheap blog posts we’ll continue to highlight WordPress best practices and tips on improving security, choosing plugins and themes, and other topics. We encourage you to check out our previous posts on WordPress in our archives.
Jackie Dana is the Senior Content Manager at Namecheap.com, and an advocate of internet privacy, civil liberties, and free speech around the world.